Hottest Corporate Celebrity Couples: Family Dollar Tree & Truzilla

+ Dollar Tree is buying Family Dollar even though Family Dollar is totally the better name. Two of the nation’s leading super-budget chains can, by their powers combined, do more to take on Wal-Mart.

The deal will give Dollar Tree more than 13,000 stores across the United States and Canada, vaulting the company ahead of Dollar General to become North America’s biggest discount retailer, with more than $18 billion in annual sales. …

Dollar Tree sells a mix of consumables in suburban stores across most U.S. states, as well as discretionary items such as gifts, party goods and greeting cards. Everything has a price tag of $1 or less. Most Family Dollar stores are in low-income neighborhoods. Its presence is biggest in Texas and the eastern United States, where it mainly sells lower-margin food and household products. “This acquisition will extend our reach to lower-income customers,” Dollar Tree Chief Executive Bob Sasser said.

The markets are happy. Wal-Mart shrugs. Dollar General declines to comment. I wax nostalgic: my first date involved a dollar store and a pink bubble necklace that I kept on my bedroom dresser for years.

Related: Brokelyn’s Dos and Don’ts of 99-cent Stores. Yes to cheap0 pregnancy tests; no to toothpaste. And definitely yes to frugal gift basket ideas!

+ Zillow is buying Trulia. Gasp. What does this mean for our real estate porn habit?

Zillow, the most-trafficked real-estate website, agreed to buy Trulia, the No. 2 company, hoping to create a market behemoth that will dominate listings of homes for sale and other information that buyers and sellers covet. … Today, many buyers and sellers start their search by going online. Sites also are often checked by homeowners to see what their houses are worth and, as such, are important advertising tools for agents hoping to land listings from those possible sellers one day.

The markets are happy. Real estate agents are not happy, because they saw what happened to travel agents (“the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that there were around 64,000 travel agents in 2013, compared with about 124,000 in 2000”). And Zillow? Is brought to you by the same folks who put those travel agents out of business with Expedia.com.

Real estate agents are also scared that a Zillow-Trulia behemoth will price gouge them. Considering how often we all have been price gouged ourselves by brokers, though — who else can demand $2000 for showing up late, unlocking a door, and otherwise doing no work whatsoever? — I find it hard to be too sympathetic.

Photo via Art by Steve Johnson

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